Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie / 寶貝小館

August 26, 2014

Shan Tofu: Chickpea tofu, pickled and charred carrot, dashi, picked shimeji, preserved bean and almond purée, fried curry leaves - 2

J's comment > not bad; very soft, texture like a cross between your regular tofu and a fish paste tofu; delicate flavors, more akin to cornmeal than chickpea, but different for sure; FYI, our server advised us that these are made in house by the owner/chef

Beef Tartare: Pemberton beef tenderloin, preserved mustard root, crispy shallot, ginger, quail egg, watercress, burnt scallion oil and taro chips - 2

J's comment > not bad; after mixing in the egg, the beef was actually quite creamy in texture, flavor was very 'clean' (none of the gaminess some beef tartares have); taro chips were crisp and a good addition as a crunchy base 

Kick Ass House Fried Rice: Taiwanese spiced pork, lettuce stem, broccoli, garlic stem, pickled royal fern, smoked scallion soy - 2

J's comment > not bad; very well cooked rice, not too soft, perfectly al dente as rice grains go; fragrant flavor but could have used a more pork and less salt; FYI, the white rice ordered on the side (no pic) had an even better texture, slightly harder than this fried rice, but I preferred the hardness

Steamed truffled pork dumplings - 2

J's comment > not bad; texture for both the wrapper and the filling on the al dente side; subtle notes of truffle, more pork than truffle; I was hoping for some jus and thought this was Bao Bei's play on the Shao Long Bao but alas no jus

Omelet w salted turnip and butter - 2

J's comment > not bad; very creamy and soft omelet, the center oozed egg yolk-y goodness; kinda like a cross between an omelette and a benedict egg yolk w Asian flavors

Squid: Stir fried w curry, dried chilis and seasonal Chinese greens - 2

J's comment > not bad; tender squid; curry a tad salty on its own but went beautifully w the white rice you can get on the side; not too spicy

Marinated Eggplant w soy, garlic and ginger - 2

J's comment > not bad; very soft and non-greasy, non-salty eggplant

Octopus Salad: Wok charred, chill mustard root gnocchi, summer greens, pickled butternut squash, tobiko, clam and anchovy dressing - 2

J's comment > very tender and flavorful octopus; didn't get the gnocchi though

Shao Bing: Sesame flatbread w cumin lamb sirloin, pickled red onion, green pepper, cilantro, and salted chilies - 2

J's comment > flavorful lamb, but hard to nibble off a piece without pulling the entire piece of lamb out of the shao bing; flatbread slightly crisped on the exterior and 'bread-y' on the inside

Chilled Sichuan Noodles: Pan seared beef, handmade wheat noodles, crisp veggies, sichuan peppercorn, sesame, chili, shrimp dressing - 2

J's comment > noodles had a bit of a bounce to it; beef tender; flavors OK; not spicy; FYI, our server advised us that limited quantities of noodles are made per night, about 11 to 15 servings

Pork & prawn wontons, curry xo consommé - 2

J's comment > glorified wontons in soup; certainly several cuts above supermarket quality and Hon's, but not a clear cut winner on the list of dishes tried tonight

Crispy Pork Belly: Buttered pickled ramps, cucumbers, watermelon radish, pickled ginger, crispy potatoes, Vietnamese dressing - 2

J's comment > pork belly braised to the point of almost no fat left (read, borderline dry); skin on top more chewy than crisp and crunchy as expected; redeeming point though was that the flavor was unique and tasty when mixed w the dressing underneath; FYI, our server provided us w this spork-nife-looking utensil that we were advised to shred the pork belly with 'like pulled pork'; I barely managed to hold in my retort that if I wanted 'pulled pork', I wouldn't be ordering 'crispy pork belly'; oh, and it was near impossible to cut up / pull apart the pork belly despite the special tool provided; sorry, unique flavor and all, but at the heart of the matter, I like my crispy pork belly like the one served @ Bambudda's

Mantou: Steamed buns w pork belly, bean sprouts, preserved turnip, sugared peanuts - 2

J's comment > another 'pork belly' fail...; this was more of a bun and everything-else-but-pork-belly dish; bun was soft and the flavors were unique but I'd like the dish to actually focus on the pork belly; again, for a decent bun & crispy pork belly, I'd head on over to Bambudda's

Steamed prawn, scallop, and nettle dumplings - 2

J's comment > another glorified dumpling; jiaozi had more nettle than the seafood advertised

King Pea Tips w garlic and shaoxing - 2

J's comment > pea tips tender w OK flavor, but nothing unusual


The owner's family history in a few black and white pics

Chinese phrases to practice on whilst you wait for your food

Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie 寶貝小館 on Urbanspoon

Extra Comment
Bao Bei will not seat your party until every single member is present, even if you have 5 people already present and are waiting on the 6th, they will NOT seat you. If you proceed to seat the current 5, Bao Bei will pull up exactly 5 chairs at a table (they're all tiny round tables except for the large table at the back for 8 to 12 people). No exceptions, not even if the restaurant is empty at opening time.

BTW, the place filled up real quick - a full house within an hour of opening on a Tuesday night.

Fun Fact
Bao Bei was used as the kitchen for Top Chef: Texas (season 9) in episode 16.

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Labels: asian fusion, chinatown, chinese

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